Large protests associated with the "yellow vest" movement continued across France for a third consecutive weekend on Saturday, December 1, with the largest demonstrations taking place in the capital. At least 188 people have been arrested in Paris, where riot police clashed with demonstrators on the Champs-Elysées, reportedly resorting to tear gas, water cannons, and stun grenades as crowds attempted to break through security cordons. Hundreds of people also gathered around Boulevard Haussman in central Paris, clashing with police and erecting roadblocks; the nearby Le Printemps and Galeries Lafayette shopping centers were evacuated by late afternoon. Multiple cars have reportedly been set on fire. According to police sources, 80 people have been injured in the capital, including 14 members of the security forces. Protests were ongoing as of 18:00 (local time). Although metro and RER service is continuing to run, numerous stations have been closed due to Saturday's demonstrations; a full list of station closures is available here. Road closures and associated traffic disruptions surrounding protest sites are also to be expected. Smaller-scale cashes between protesters and police were also reported in other cities across the country, including Toulouse and Strasbourg; however, most "yellow vest" demonstrations remained peaceful.
Thousands of people also participated in an unrelated rally organized by the the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) union in Paris on Saturday, beginning at noon at Place de la République. No major incidents were reported during the event and demonstrators were dispersing by 17:00.
The "yellow vest" movement has been carrying out daily protests since November 17 against rising fuel prices and a planned fuel tax. Hundreds of thousands have engaged in slow-rolling protests to block roads and highways, causing significant traffic disruptions. Two people were killed and over 550 injured in traffic incidents during the height of the protests.
The government is planning a tax increase on fuel prices, including gasoline and diesel, beginning on January 1, 2019, to promote environmentally friendly practices.
Individuals in France are advised to monitor developments to the situation, allow for extra time to reach their destinations, and avoid all protests as a precaution. All those present in Paris are advised to strictly avoid areas where protests are ongoing due to the risk of incidental violence and to adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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